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We’ve had an insatiable crush on Janelle Monáe for years now. Sure, she’s now a mega movie star, nominated twice for for her first ever SAG Awards, for two amazing and important films. But our crush began when she hit the music scene as an R&B artist, the likes of which we’d never seen nor heard before.

With a sky-high pompadour, Janelle Monáe would rock tuxedos, pin stripes, suspenders, patent-leather loafers, and bow-ties. Her music was new, vibrant, and dynamic. It demanded physicality, an active response from its listener.

We also swooned for her world view – one of hope, positivity, and a belief in an individual’s inherent power.


We first learned of Janelle Monáe when we saw her video for “Tightrope.”

She’d already been making kick-ass music for years, though.

So, we went back and learned, starting with 2008’s prescient “Many Moons.”

Then, in 2013, she went happy disco, for “Dance Apocalyptic.”

And partnered with Erykah Badu, causing us to nearly faint.

She also had a VERY distinct style. She loved a pantsuit.

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Monáe, though, had a background in theater, having studied at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York.

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She says her artistic dedication to celebrating originality is what drew her to Moonlight and Hidden Figures. Regarding to the latter, she said on KCRW’s Press Play,

“No matter what our color is, just seeing women celebrated for their minds and their brilliance and not objectified, but studied and looked at as subjects to study into the end of time, is so empowering.”

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The singer-actor also told E!’s red carpet correspondent that she was “in tears” reading the scripts for both films.

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As are we, watching her star rise.